chinese new year celebrations

Celebrate the Chinese New Year in San Francisco. (Photo: Getty Images)

San Francisco

The 5 Best Cities Around the World to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Whether you’re whooping it up for the Year of the Pig (or Rat or Ox or Tiger) or simply want to give a nod to the Chinese New Year, here are some of the best cities around the world that host a smorgasbord of celebrations.

Can’t decide on just one? Crisscross the globe and hit them all on an international Chinese New Year crawl that will take you across all 24 time zones, from Sydney to San Francisco.

San Francisco

One of the largest Chinatowns outside of Asia and the oldest one in the U.S., San Francisco’s world-renowned Chinatown district goes above and beyond for the Lunar New Year. The monthlong celebration is highlighted by a massive Chinese New Year Parade featuring more than 100 floats and a gargantuan 288-foot golden dragon that takes a team of 180 people to carry through the streets.

Though the parade is the main event, satellite events taking place across the spectacularly scenic city also include a flower market fair, basketball jamboree, Chinese New Year run/walk and the popular Miss Chinatown USA pageant and coronation ball.


chinese new year celebrations
The race is on in Sydney. (Photo: Getty Images)

Aussies have never been known to shy away from a party, and Australia’s largest city goes all out for Chinese New Year during its Sydney Lunar Festival, which packs more than 80 events into 10 days in early February.

Since February Down Under means summer, it’s the perfect time to indulge in an array of special events taking place across this beautiful city that is home to a large Chinese population, such as themed dinners and markets, community performances and an orchestral concert with fireworks at the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Be sure to check out the popular dragon boat races (among the biggest in the world), as more than 3,000 paddlers pilot 12-meter-long dragon boats in Darling Harbour, along with lion dances and a traditional monk’s blessing.


chinese new year celebrations
Catch a performance in Beijing. (Photo: Getty Images)

The mother of all Chinese New Year fests is more on the subdued side, with an emphasis on prayer, family celebrations and historical reenactments. So if you want to leave the party with more than just a hangover, Beijing’s celebrations are the place to do it.

Much of the action in China’s capital is centered around various themed temple fairs held in local parks across the city where you’ll see traditional folk performances and crafts as you sample local snacks.

While many locals leave the city to travel to their hometowns during Chinese New Year, Beijing still hosts plenty of colorful parades and cultural demonstrations to keep you entertained as you immerse yourself in a more authentic Chinese New Year experience.


The world’s largest Chinese New Year party outside Asia crams a helluva lot of action into one day, as hundreds of thousands of revelers make their way into London’s West End and Chinatown neighborhoods. The city plays host to a wide range of activities, from a 50-team parade through Chinatown to a booming performance stage in Trafalgar Square featuring Chinese dance and music performances, as well as high-flying acrobatics.

Grab delicious local street food from stalls that line the square before checking out up-and-coming British-Chinese artists and martial arts demonstrations in between speeches and traditional ceremonies.

There is, of course, a fireworks finale, and yes, you can even take selfies with Chinese zodiac animals to show everyone how much fun you’re having.

Hong Kong

chinese new year celebrations
Watch the fireworks in Hong Kong. (Photo: Getty Images)

This world-famous Chinese New Year celebration is a feast for the senses, with illuminated floats and colorful shows that somehow make one of the world’s most vibrant cities even more captivating.

The party kicks off each year on Chinese New Year’s Day with the iconic night parade taking over the Tsim Sha Tsui area near Victoria Harbour, where a high-octane assemblage of floats and performances get you in the mood to party with a festive crowd from all walks of life.

The next night culminates in one of the world’s finest fireworks shows over Victoria Harbour, an eye-popping, 25-minute, high-tech pyrotechnic display set against the illuminated lights of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers.

The final day is set aside for good luck, which means trying your hand betting on the ponies at Sha Tin Racecourse during a Chinese Kentucky Derbystyle party with 100,000 of your closest friends.

Satellite events including a marathon, equestrian competition, flower markets and a European carnival extend the festivities.